How to Prepare for your Internal Audit Job Interview
When you’re going for an internal audit interview you can expect your interviewer to target four key areas. Their line of questioning will likely cover everything from why you’re sitting across from them, and your internal audit journey thus far, to your technical expertise and whether your soft skills measure up to their expectations for the role.
Why do you want this job?
The initial part of the interview will typically be aligned to motivation and drivers. They want to understand why you’re looking at a career in Internal Audit, what your key career objectives are and they’ll want to know what specifically is motivating you to join the company. So be prepared with research around the business and the industry sector it’s in.
What can you do?
The interviewer will move on to targeting your career and background in audit. At this point they’re wanting to ascertain the types of projects you may have worked on and the types of clients you’ve worked with. For example, if you’ve come from working at one of the Big Four, this is an opportunity for you to discuss the processes and controls you’ve been exposed to in the audits you’ve engaged on. The interviewer will also want to gauge any work you’ve done around dealing with stakeholders and how you’ve managed those relationships. Not to mention a breakdown of the audit engagements themselves and whether the focus was on risk, compliance or perhaps financial.
How will you do your job?
Working in Internal Audit requires an element of technical know-how so you can also expect questions designed to evaluate your audit style. The interviewer wants to see how you’d look to plan, conduct and execute and audit. They might ask you to discuss how you’d approach a certain process, whether it be HR, procurement, manufacturing or supply chain, for example, taking that into account what types of controls would you be looking for? What areas of weakness could there be? What would be the types of risks you’d expect to see? There may also be questions around the documentation aspect in terms of how you’d look to report on those findings.
How will you work with us?
Along with the technical side of Internal Audit jobs, comes the need for essential soft skills and emotional intelligence. At this point you can expect questions that delve into your experience with stakeholder management. They may ask you how you cope with delivering negative feedback to a client or to the business. This is a chance for you to demonstrate how you might deal with stressful situations or indeed provide examples of previous stressful encounters, or situations where you’ve had to display resilience. You may also be asked about your experience with presenting to Senior Executives and how well you’ve developed those relationships.
On a side note…
Other areas that may be on your interviewer’s agenda will be in assessing your ability to think creatively when it comes to audit. Even if you’re coming at this particular role without relevant industry experience, the interviewer may quiz you on the inherent risks you’d expect to see within the industry. What you’d expect the key risks to be, whether at a macro or micro level. At this point they may also want to test your wider thinking around the business and how it may be impacted from an ethical resourcing perspective, or perhaps from an ecological or societal angle with regards issues like climate change or the increased prevalence of remote working.
The interviewer might come from completely left field and ask you to talk about an industry you’ve never dealt with before. For instance, they may ask how you’d set up a TV station, thinking about the types of risks you’d expect to see with opening the station and then getting it up and running. So be ready to think outside the box.